Baby car-seat covers can be expensive. It can also be tough to find the car seat cover you have in mind. Designing your own can be both inexpensive and rewarding. There is much work to be done, but if you are willing to do it, the cover can be used for many years.
How to Make a Baby Car Seat Cover
Measure the car seat from top to bottom, and then from the left to the right side. Add 10 inches for each measurement, since the cover is going to wrap around the seat a bit. This way you will have enough fabric to completely cover the car seat. When you purchase the fabric, be sure to multiply the amount of fabric you need by 2, because you are going to double up the fabric for the car seat.
Choose a fabric and purchase the amount you need according to the measurements you took. It won't hurt to have a little extra. A sturdy cotton fabric is a good choice because the material is breathable. Cotton is also easy to wash---just be sure to use a low dryer setting to avoid shrinking it too much. It may be a good idea to prewash the fabric before you sew it so it will preshrink.
Make your own pattern for the car seat. Lay a piece of transparent paper or tissue on a flat surface. Using a meter stick or tape measure, measure out the length of the car seat. Don't forget to add the 10 inches, 5 inches extra on top, and 5 extra on bottom. Make a pencil mark on the paper at the top and bottom of the measurements.
Measure and mark the width, adding the extra 5 inches to each side. Connect the marks around the paper by drawing a circle or oval; your car-seat shape will determine the shape of the pattern. Cut out the pattern carefully.
Fold your fabric in half and pin the edges to keep the fabric from shifting. Lay the pattern on top of the fabric and pin the pattern to the fabric. Carefully cut the fabric in the shape of the pattern, then remove the pattern.
Turn the two pieces of fabric around so that the outer sides are touching each other. Make sure they are even around the sides, then pin the pieces together.
Use a sewing machine to sew three-quarters of the car-seat cover. Then turn the cover inside out to where the correct sides are facing out again. Continue to sew the car seat up, but leave a 1-inch hole.
Make a casing around the edge of the cover. Mark a 1/2- to 1-inch section all the way around the cover. Pin together and sew a seam around the car-seat cover. Be sure to leave a hole in the casing where you left the 1-inch hole when sewing the cover together.
Pin a very large safety pin on one end of your elastic. Place the safety pin inside the 1-inch hole you left open, and "walk" the pin around the casing, pulling the elastic around the casing. Take the safety pin off and apply the plastic clip to the ends of the elastic. You should be able to press on the clip button and pull the elastic so that the car-seat cover tightens or loosens.
Lay the cover in the car seat. Wrap the sides around the car seat and test it by tightening the elastic.
Make slits in the cover to allow the car-seat straps to get through. With the cover lying in the car seat, take a pencil or other marking tool and make a small mark wherever a car-seat strap rests beneath the cover. Take the cover off and measure the length of the car-seat strap slits.
Mark the same measurement on the car-seat cover. Gently slice the fabric open with a very sharp knife or cutting tool. Hand-sew the edges to prevent fraying.